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In Case You Missed It -- Numbers 16-17, Psalm 85

We humans can be irrational creatures, and if the events of Numbers 16 truly indicate humanity’s posture towards God and godly leadership, then “irrational” might be an understatement. As a younger man, I read stories of Israel’s unfaithfulness towards God with an incredulous posture, believing that these Israelites were incredibly thick people. Now I just think they were human. I do not intend to be overly dour towards our race, but I must acknowledge what I have seen. In past years, reading about someone who called Egypt, the land of slavery, a land of milk of and honey (Numbers 16:12-14) would have prevented my empathetic reading. Now, after years of seeing how sin, stress, fatigue, bad habits, and neglect can affect our abilities to perceive the world around us and truth about God, I feel sad reading these stories. I no longer ask, “How could they?” but recognize my need to pray “God, don’t let us do this.” These people weren't relatable before, but now I connect Israel’s rebellion to stories I know and things I have seen. Truly there is no explanation for the way Israel’s culprits see God, their recent history, and Moses. Truthfully, there is also no explanation for the ways we choose relationships that are bad for us, knowingly indulge unhealthy habits, or neglect a thriving relationship with God. In light of today’s reading, may we pray, “God, have mercy, and deliver us from sin!”

Jeremiah Vaught